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Cartel violence forces Mexican security forces to secure hotel zones in Cancún, Playa del Carmen

May 21, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Cartel violence forces Mexican security forces to secure hotel zones in Cancún, Playa del Carmen

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At least 300 Mexican police officers and military personnel were sent to the once tranquil tourist beaches of Cancún, Playa del Carmen, and Rivera Maya to provide security against increasing cartel violence that have now spread to hotel areas.

The procedure, dubbed “Operación Neptuno” or “Operation Neptune,” according to El Debate, will include authorities from state, municipal, tourist, and federal agencies plus members of the Mexican Army and Navy.

The deployments will be made to provide extra high-visibility foot and vehicle protection to the hotel zones and popular tourist areas affecting beach hubs in Quintana Roo—a state once free of cartel violence. According to the operational strategy, the Mexican Navy, in coordination with the office of the local harbormaster, will continue surveillance and control of the different vessels in the area.

Cartel violence has been increasingly spreading to Cancún and Playa del Carmen. In February, a narco-terror bomb exploded on a passenger ferry in Playa del Carmen. The Barcos Caribe, operating a Playa del Carmen-Cozumel route since 2015, suffered a violent blast as passengers were disembarking and wounded seven U.S. citizens.

In March, the U.S. Department of State announced an order forbidding federal employees from going to Playa del Carmen and the U.S. Consular Offices were closed due to a threat of cartel violence. The order was later removed.

In April, two cartel gunmen on jet skis began shooting at a mobile food vendor on a crowded beach behind Hotel Riu.

The continuing violence is attributed by officials to the cartel wars over the disputed lucrative drug territories by Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación, Los Zetas, Gulf, and independent factions loyal to the Sinaloa Cartel. Sixty Cancun municipal police have been fired for extorting bribes from tourists and participating in other criminal activities.

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